Donald Trump attacked Beto O’Rourke on Wednesday, blaming the 2020 presidential hopeful for the lack of action in Washington D.C. on gun control. According to The Washington Post, the president claimed that gun reform became “much harder” after the former Texas congressman championed gun control during the Democratic debates last week.
“Dummy Beto made it much harder to make a deal. Convinced many that Dems just want to take your guns away. Will continue forward!” Trump tweeted.
Trump has made several promises to tackle the issue of gun control in the United States, renewing his pledges after a spate of mass shootings in the country, including back-to-back attacks last month in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio. But the White House and Congress have failed to take any meaningful action on the problem. Now, it appears that he and other Republicans are using O’Rourke as a way to shift the blame away from his administration for the lack of movement on the issue.
Trump’s tweet came as lawmakers wait for the president to reveal which gun control measures he would support. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader from Kentucky, said that they are in a “holding pattern” until they hear back from the president.
The controversy started when the Texas presidential candidate was asked during the Democratic debate about whether or not he supported taking away guns from citizens.
“Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” O’Rourke said before launching into an impassioned speech about the harm weapons of war do to the American people.
In the wake, Republicans and some on the left used the statement as evidence that Democrats want to confiscate guns from private citizens, as The Inquisitr previously reported. O’Rourke has also reportedly received death threats for his statements. Fellow presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, the mayor from South Bend, Indiana, said that O’Rourke’s comments played into Republican hands.
Trump latched onto the resulting fallout, tweeting that O’Rourke had set back negotiations on gun control in the U.S., though it is unclear how that’s the case.
O’Rourke responded to Trump’s tweet, calling the president out for his inaction.
“To be clear: We will buy back every single assault weapon,” he wrote. “We’ll also license every gun & do a background check on every buyer. That’s what the American people want — and deserve. The only thing stopping us from ending this epidemic is you & your cowardice. Do the right thing.”
In the hours after the exchange, “dummy Beto” trended on Twitter, with people from both sides of the aisle weighing in on the debate.